Quarantine Life from Cholera to COVID-19 attempts to put the current pandemic in its place within all the human pandemics in recorded history. What does the past have to tell us about our future? The author lists thirty lessons that we should have learned already (with varying success).
My favorite part of the book, covering several chapters, was the quotes from two books written in 1722 by Daniel Defoe (famous for writing Robinson Crusoe). Both books were released the same year. One was non-fiction about The Plague. The other was a fictionalized account of the same event. Some key points within both books are quarantines eventually cause people to rebel, you can’t shut down entire economies, and humans love statistics but are really bad at accessing risk.
The writing style is as if the author is your smartest friend discussing what she is thinking. Some parts do sound a little professorial, as even the author admits. Other sections sound rather preachy, though the author tries to see both viewpoint’s perspectives. However, I enjoyed her use of literature to show what people thought during previous pandemics.
“For the entirety of recorded history, disease has loomed, a haunting shadow waiting to strike and decimate. Scientist even theorize that viruses developed from rogue pieces of human DNA that somehow gained independence—a sort of microscopic Skynet event.“
Overall, Quarantine Life from Cholera to COVID-19 is definitely a thinking person’s book. If that sounds like you, and you want a unique perspective of how COVID-19 fits into the history of human interaction with disease, you will enjoy this book. It is certainly well-researched with endnotes and a bibliography at the end. 4 stars!
Thanks to Tiller Press and NetGalley for a copy in exchange for my honest review.